MILNER JOINS MAXWELL AND JEANNETTE FOR LE MANS
Toronto - ON (May 26th, 2006) Young American star Tom Milner has been selected by Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz to complete its driver line-up for next month's 24 Hours of Le Mans - joining Scott Maxwell and Gunnar Jeannette aboard the #50 Panoz Esperante.
Milner made his American Le Mans Series debut with the team at Sebring this year and is now headed to France for his first assault on the annual round-the-clock classic.
The trio will form a formidable partnership at Le Mans. Maxwell was victorious in the LMP675 class in 2000 during his Le Mans debut - earning Multimatic the honor of being the only Canadian team to ever win a class at the event.
Jeannette was the youngest ever finisher of the race the same year and went on to earn a GT podium in 2001. He also starred for Panoz in 2003 when he drove a brilliant final stint to hold off ex-Formula One drivers Jean-Marc Gounon and Jan Lammers to clinch fifth place outright and first of the non-VW junior brands aboard the Panoz LMP-01.
"Obviously we didn't have the result we were looking for at Mid Ohio, but I still finished the event with a smile on my face after being told that I would drive for the team at Le Mans," Milner said.
"For a lot of young drivers in the US they grow up dreaming about the Indy 500, but I was raised around sports cars and have always looked to Le Mans as my #1 event.
"It is definitely an honor for me to be invited to drive at the race, especially with a team like Multimatic because they have so much great experience there.
"This year I have been able to learn a great deal from my team-mates and I will certainly be picking their brains a lot in the lead-up to the race.
"I have already clocked up a couple of hundred laps on video games around the Le Mans circuit and I certainly will be doing a lot more in the next couple of weeks.
"The games can really help you learn the tracks. They are not the best for actually trying to practice driving the car, but you get to know exactly where the track goes before you arrive at the circuit.
The 20-year-old Milner will also be searching for his old high school text books after receiving the news he will be headed to France.
"I studied French in school for a couple of years, so hopefully some of that will come back to me. I have only ever had a stop-over at Charles du Gaulle airport once on my way back to the US, so that doesn't really count," Milner said.
"Everyone I have talked to says the entire Le Mans event is an incredible experience so I really can't wait."
Being new to the team and despite having only contested three races aboard Panoz Esperante GTLM, Milner has more than impressed team boss, Multimatic Vice President and Motorsports Technical Director, Larry Holt.
"Of our guys, Tom has the least experience but his efforts, both in and out of the car this year have really impressed me," Holt said.
"He has done more than enough to prove he is certainly worthy of his spot at Le Mans alongside Scotty and Gunnar.
"We are disappointed for both him and Gunnar that we have not been able to provide him with more reliable machinery to date to get the job done in the races, but we believe we have found the problem that has plagued them in the past two weekends.
"We will be using the #50 car at Le Mans which, to date, has run almost faultlessly in 2006. The entire team is in a very confident frame of mind headed to France."
The #50 Le Mans entry will also feature the return of the BBS Wheels logo to the side of the Panoz Esperante GTLM.
Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz has signed a new deal with BBS, continuing the long-standing technical partnership between Multimatic, Panoz and the German wheel manufacturer.
"Multimatic, Panoz and BBS have won a lot of races together in the past, they have an outstanding product, and we are very pleased to have secured them as a technical partner for our team," Holt said.